Former Navy Personnel Officer Explains Why The "Sugar Coat" Memo is Likely a Fraud

Something on caught my attention.

One of the 4 CBS memos about George W. Bush’s National Guard service contains the following memo supposedly authored by his commanding officer:

“Bush wasn’t here during rating period and I don’t have any feedback from 187th in Alabama. I will not rate.”

Having spent 9 years as an enlisted Personnel Officer in the Navy, the marks on Bush’s fitness report for the period he was in Alabama are the only ones that could be entered. When an officer is away from his permanent duty station for a significant portion of the reporting period , the reporting senior must submitted a “not observed” report. Anything else would be conjecture. Not Observed reports cannot be rated. Lt. Col. Killian would certainly have known this, as any 2nd Lt. would.

Additionally, reporting seniors may not use information from another reporting senior. Killian would have known this, so he would not have written “I don’t have any feedback.” It wouldn’t have mattered if Killian had gotten feedback from Alabama–he couldn’t have used it in Lieutenant Bush’s fitness report for a period that Killian did not observe.

In this case, the Alabama unit would have submitted a “concurrent” report, meaning it covers a period also covered by a “regular” report. The Texas squadron would submit the “regular” report, marked “Not Observed” and directing interested parties to the Alabama unit’s concurrent report.

Dull, yes. But I supervised the FitRep process for many years, and it’s pretty much the same across the services.

I will provide this caveat: I served in the active Navy from 1984 until 1994 and an active Navy Reserve unit until 1997. There are some differences between the Navy and the Air Force, and some rules may have changed between 1973 and 1984. I doubt that these did, though, because the FITREP Manual I used was release in about 1973 and contained only minor modifications during my 10 years in service.